Orcapedia, A guide to the victims of the International Orca Slave Trade

By Captain Paul Watson & Tiffany Humphrey GroundSwell Books, 2020 Reviewed by JoeAnn Hart             This book should be handed out at every visitor center in Florida, because Orcapedia, A guide to the victims of the International Orca Slave Trade contains all you need to know about Sea World, or any other aquarium that holds …

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Book Review: Dark Side of the Ocean

If you are one of those for whom solid scientific information is a balm for environmental anxiety, Dark Side of the Ocean is the book for you. Albert Bates, the author of 18 books on climate, history, and ecology, provides a torrent of information in easy to understand language. It is technical but not thick. It …

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Allowed to Grow Old, Portraits of Elderly Animals From Farm Sanctuaries

By Isa Leshko Foreword by Sy Montgomery Essays by Gene Baur and Anne Wilkes Tucker University of Chicago Press, 2019 First, a disclaimer. While I wouldn’t call it a sanctuary, my husband and I do take in livestock rescues from time to time, so I have a warm spot in my heart for the creatures …

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Book Review: Kinship Of Clover

Kinship Of Clover, a novel by Ellen Meeropol Red Hen Press, 2017 Ellen Meeropol’s third novel, Kinship of Clover, spreads out over generations and from multiple points of views, with one eye on the aging 60’s generation of activists, and another on the rising generation. One of these is Jeremy, a college student so obsessed …

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The Narrow Edge

    The Narrow Edge By Deborah Cramer Yale University Press, 2015.   The “narrow edge” in the title of this engaging book by Deborah Cramer evokes the image of comedian Harold Lloyd, in the 1923 film Safety Last!, teetering on a skyscraper ledge, clinging for dear life to the hands of a clock. It …

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Zoologies

Zoologies, On Animals and the Human Spirit (Milkweed Editions) By Alison Hawthorne Deming Every day, as I walk from house to barn, or go up the driveway to get the mail, I am closely monitored by the resident crows who glide from oak to oak, loudly discussing my movements amongst themselves. In a cacophony of …

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2014

Once a year, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin, we get to be wowed, disgusted, depressed, amazed, revolted, terrified, and sometimes even amused with the publication of The Best American Science and Nature Writing. This is not a book geared for science nerds, this is reading for anyone interested in life. I wish there was a different …

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Book Review: Trash Animals

How we live with nature’s filthy, feral, invasive, and unwanted species

Kelsi Nagy and Phillip David Johnson II, editors

University of Minnesota Press, 2013

TrashAnimals

In this collected cross-section of stories and essays about trash animals — the loathed species we deem dirty or dangerous nuisances, such as pigeons and coyotes — the authors differ in subject matter and narrative focus, but they all have one thing in common. They ask that we see these animals in a new light.

Why is that so difficult? Mostly, as the authors argue, because we hate species who survive on our sloth, such as cockroaches and rats, who clean up after us. And we don’t much like animals who invade environments we have created for our own enjoyment, such as Canada Geese on golf courses, or coyotes in suburban yards. They can alter the landscape! They can destroy the land and the water!

What invasive, destructive species does that remind you of?

Unknown

Reading these pieces, I know I am as prejudice or blind as most. In the essay “See Gull,”

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